Sunday, 23 December 2012

At the beginning of the calendar year that your child turns five you are to send them to school.

At the beginning of the calendar year that your child turns five you are to send them to school. They will attend six hours per day, five days per week, forty weeks per year for the next thirteen years. They will be required to wear a prescribed uniform and to adhere to the school’s code of conduct. They will need to do extra work outside of school hours. You do not have any say in who will teach your children, what content they must learn and how they will be disciplined for behaviour which is deemed inappropriate. You are not permitted to be on the school premises except in exceptional circumstances. Most likely after the completion of thirteen years of schooling your child will need to undertake further training or education to be able to gain paid employment. Newcastle TAFE is running a Certificate III in Asset Maintenance (Cleaning Operations) if you find that that your child did not, surprisingly, “come to understand the complexity of meaning, to compose and respond to texts according to their form, content, purpose and audience, and to appreciate the personal, social, historical, cultural and workplace contexts that produce and value them” ( despite 13 years of compulsory English at school.

If anything I have written above is fundamentally incorrect just let me know and I’ll shut up. Otherwise what I have written above is essentially true and if it shocks you, then just like many other aspects of our modern lives, we are failing to question activities that we undertake every day. Unless we seriously question why we institutionalise our children in schools under the guise of education, we are destined to produce further generations of unthinking beings who, like ourselves, are blindly participating in the destruction of the life giving planet that we evolved upon. To expect the youth of today to save the planet after thirteen years of competition with thousands of their peers to get a school mark that will ensure them a pathway to maximum income is perhaps the greatest delusion in which we indulge ourselves. To wonder in disbelief at the self destructive behaviours of “schoolies week” or to merely dismiss it as “letting off steam” is proof that we adults also endured years of schooling that snuffed out our innate human curiosity to question why.
There are many things that you and I would readily agree to that will cause our ancestors to wonder “why on earth did they do that?”. But I propose that the compulsory shooling experiment that we so willingly and blindly subject our own beloved children to will be one of the most perplexing of puzzles for anthropologists of the future.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Holiday Townhouse in Mooloolaba

Dear friends,
For the time being we have decided to holiday let our townhouse in Mooloolaba. We are offering it to our friends and family at very affordable rates so we can cover our costs and get to use it as well. It has two spacious bedrooms, each with a queen size double bed and a spare single trundle bed under one of the beds. There is a bathroom and toilet upstairs, whilst downstairs is an open and comfortable living area with a relaxed beach holiday feel. It has a paved private courtyard shaded by golden cane palms and bamboo. We have brought down our canoe and fishing gear which you are free to use in the Mooloolah River just across the road. The townhouse is adjacent to shops and less than a kilometre from Mooloolaba Beach and Esplanade. All linen, bath towels, beach towels and kitchen facilities are provided.
If you or any of your friends or family are interested please contact us.
We are charging $50 a night out of school holidays and $70 a night during school holidays. Minimum 3 nights .                                                         
Kind regards, Sean and Linda
Living area opening onto courtyard.



Bedroom 1

Bedroom 2

Thursday, 14 June 2012

School Kids Bonus-Am I stupid and missing something?

The Government has announced that it will pay money to parents with kids at school. In it's own words:

"This new guaranteed payment will help the families of 2.2 million school kids pay for uniforms, books, school excursions, stationery, and other costs like music lessons and sports registration fees."

Am I stupid and missing something? Because I thought

  1. Sending children to school is compulsory and written in law
  2. Public education is meant to be free
  3. That the parents of the children with the lowest literacy/numeracy in the country are the least likely to be spending the bonus on uniforms, books, school excursions, stationery, and other costs like music lessons and sports registration fees.
Please feel free to enlighten me if I'm off the mark here.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

So you want to save the world?

This Saturday I am meeting with a small group of people and if you ask me what brings us together I fear that any attempt I make will fall way short of encapsulating what this is all about. But I'll give it a shot. We, the members of this group, have looked at the world as it stands today and where it is heading, we have awakened to the devastating crisis that looms and we have decided to do something about it. We believe that humans can and should do something rather than letting nature take its inevitable course.

People often ask "so what you been up to lately?", and I admit to feeling a bit lame, even embarrassed, to simply say "I've joined a group and we are going to save the world!" On the other hand when I talk openly with people about what I do think about the world I mostly find that others generally agree that something is not quite right and that it can't keep going on like this forever. Not many people can, after some reflection, deny that we are consuming ourselves out of existence and that while the party is going on some are having a much better time than others.

Sadly what I encounter, in most people though, is a resignation that there is nothing that can be done about it. Some admittedly are preparing the lifeboats. Most though open there eyes for an occasional glimpse of the undeniable reality but quite happily go back to sleep so that they can get on with life. So the dream state in which so many of our people, institutions and systems operate persists. Perhaps the saddest part of all is that a significant number of people don't want to fully confront the situation that we find ourselves in because they genuinely believe that human nature is such that greed, competition, gluttony, selfishness, tribalism, war and violence will always dominate or at least sabotage any attempts to create a world of sharing, cooperation, moderation, selflessness, equality, peace and love.

Essentially, and being a bit more forgiving of ourselves, mostly people are so trapped by the current modus operandi that they simply do not have the time to contemplate the necessity, the beauty and the possibility of a world that is sustainable and equitable. A world that would allow all of us to be wholly human.

Over the last few months, having the luxury of more time than usual for contemplation, as I have been waking up to the dire situation that humanity finds itself in and investigating the current level of human response and activity, I have come to realise a few very sobering facts. Firstly, that a full understanding of the crisis, it's causes and essential required changes have been well known and openly documented for many decades. Similarly, so have efforts to stop the rot and save the world. Furthermore, some very eloquent and well respected individuals and some well supported and financial groups have been shouting loudly from the rooftops. For one example, read David Suzuki's Declaration of Interdependence and then consider for how long and how far this man has been spreading this ineluctable message. Also, consider the Earth Charter, launched in 2000 after a decade of world wide cross-cultural participation and it's widely endorsed call to to action. Finally, have a look at Paul Hawken on Youtube presenting to an ecstatic crowd the launch of the Blessed Unrest at the Bioneers Conference in 2006. If there are hundreds of thousands of groups around the world working for the environment and social justice and six years later the environment continues to be destroyed and human suffering continues unabated can you please tell me what is worth celebrating. None of these people or groups have by any measure ignited a global people movement that is effecting any serious outrage or systemic change. The world is in a much worse state now than when it started navel gazing at it's finite nature and limits to growth some decades ago. If you want to argue with me on that point go to and do a few minutes of clock watching!

So the point I am trying to make is this - if any group of people is working on saving the world, then what must be considered upfront, is that this is a mission to get over 7 billion humans to wake up to the errors of our current ways of thinking and acting and to make what essentially is a 180 degree about turn. Others smarter, richer and more influential have failed in the recent past, so we also must accept that there is no point simply repackaging the same message and modes of action and expecting that it will work this time. To create the change, that we and others envisage, will require a brand new irrefutable world view, an irresistible destination and frictionless path of action that is bigger and better than ever before. Otherwise we are just pissing in the wind!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

How to get the best education for your kids.

How do you get the best education for your kids? In Australia, and lets be thankful that we live in such a lucky country, it's so simple. Yes that's right, so simple that you're probably doing it already and don't even know it. OK OK I'll tell you - you just shop at Woolworths. That's right how simple is that? This is going to work a treat cause we all need groceries and we should all be able to get to Woolies pretty easy (last time I looked they seemed to be practically everywhere) and you only need to spend $10 to get a sticker. Then if you get enough stickers, and that should be easy cause you can get just about everything you need at Woolies, your school can get their share of essential resources. Stuff such as maths and science equipment, arts and craft material, books and lots more. I'm telling you I'm really glad they're including books because even in this age of technology I still firmly believe that books are a vital part of any decent education. So thanks Woolworths I feel a whole lot better knowing that my kids will have access to books.

Now to get this happening make sure your kid's school is registered and let's face it any school would be mad not to be. You can find this out on the website and if your school is not I'd be getting a shit load of cranky parents together, they should be easy to find, and demanding to see the Principal. When they are registered the school can hand out sticker cards to all the kids. It's also probably best that the school runs a competition to see which kid can collect the most stickers. That would be such a great idea as it would, not only increase the school's chance of getting a bigger slice of the essential educational resources pie, but also, teach children how valuable competition is. We certainly wouldn't want that other toffy school in the next suburb getting more stuff than our school would we? Another good tactic could be to get people who don't have kids at school to save the stickers for our own kids school. In fact Woolies even encourages this. I say get your kids to go door knocking around the local neighbourhood, dressed in last years shabby and ill fitting school uniform, putting on a sad face, letting people know that the local school needs some tables and chairs (yes, can you believe it Woolies can even supply furniture to schools - how cool!) and all they have to do is shop at Woolies.

I know this cause I read it on the web site and I saw it in on TV and you've got to love Ricki-Lee Coulter. The programs called Earn and Learn and Woolies have have done it before and it works. Basically they Earn so our kids can Learn. Yes, pretty basic really, they earn lots of money and use a bit of that to buy stuff for schools that have signed up to play the game. They also use a lot of the rest of the money to get bigger and bigger and that means they can keep supporting the community in the future. Who knows if Woolies keeps getting bigger and bigger there may even be enough jobs for all of our kids to work there. Isn't the aim of education to prepare our kids for work? Now, I've been accused of being bit of a dreamer, but just imagine if everyone in Australia shopped at Woolies. Wow, I bet we would have the best schools with the best stuff in all the world!

Our kids education is so important and we know we can't leave it up to the government to do it properly. So get down to Woolies today and what the heck spend up big - our children are our future.

One last word. If your local small businesses get upset with you for switching to Woolworths just ask them if they are going to buy books and chairs for the local school. I bet that will stop them in their tracks!

Saturday, 19 May 2012

GOD is alive and well

Over population

is alive and and well in the world today and if not stopped Judgement Day will arrive

as a unified global community we need to

STOP (seriously tackle obscene profit)
STOP (seriously tackle over population)
STOP (seriously tackle outrageous poverty)

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Most employers lack common courtesy

Have you ever spent hours writing a killer cover letter, customising your Resume and addressing all essential and desirable selection criteria for a job application and never heard a thing? Below is the email I just had to send today.

Dear HR Manager
On the 19th April 2012 I submitted an application for the position of Youth Support Worker as advertised on the ****** ********* Website. The closing date for this position was the 20th April 2012. To this point I have had no official feedback from ****** ********* in regards to this application despite several attempts to contact you. However, as a consequence of my efforts to gain some feedback in regards to the progress of my application, I was contacted today by a person named ********* who mistakenly began to give me feedback on how I went at the interview. I informed her that I had not attended an interview and she apologised, stated that there must have been another Sean who was interviewed, therefore I must not have been shortlisted for the position and that I should have been notified by HR.

I feel compelled to make you aware of this situation. My last position of employment was in Job Services Australia and a major part of my role was case managing unemployed people. By far the most common grievance of active jobseekers was the lack of response that they received from employers in regards to applications they had made for advertised vacancies. Many job applications these days require considerable effort and time and it is understandable that jobseekers become frustrated, demotivated and even angry when they are completely ignored when applying for work. It is a sad state of affairs that this situation appears, from my professional and personal experience, to be the status quo. It is particularly concerning when not for profit organisations, who pride themselves on their service of individual and community welfare, appear to have accepted the status quo of not responding appropriately to applicants for positions within their own organisations. Please note that ****** ********* is not the only not for profit organisation that has failed to provide any acknowledgement of my job applications.

Fortunately, due to my experience of working in Employment Services, I do not take the lack of any feedback personally or as a measure of my worth as a suitable candidate for the positions that I have applied for. I have though now gained a better understanding of the common behaviour of unemployed people who after a period of never hearing anything back simply give up applying for advertised positions.

I am writing to you not with the aim of gaining any restorative action, but simply to provide some feedback that may assist you in providing a better HR experience for job applicants.

Yours sincerely,

Sean Crawley

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Bunya Dreaming

A reflection after camping at Bunya Mountain National Park 20th-22nd April 2012

Like so much of Australia' indigenous history, the true and full history of the Bunya Nut Festivals in South East Queensland may never be known. Stories of celebration and cooperation, finely tuned to the erratic fruiting of the Bunya Pine, which drew thousands of Aboriginal people from as far away as Charleville, Dubbo, Bundaberg and Grafton not only fires up one's imagination but also demands an enormous respect for the traditional people and culture of this land. Recently, after I moved to Montville in the Blackall Range of the Sunshine Coast, I was under the impression that Baroon Pocket, just down the road from my new residence, was the site of these famous gatherings. Then I spoke to an Aboriginal lore man, a dear friend of many years, who stated that the Bunya Mountains were in fact the home of the Bunya Nut festivals. Being the curious person I am, a little research found one source that states that the last “traditional” Bunya festival was in Baroon Pocket in 1887 and then another source stating that the last festival was in the Bunya Mountains in 1902. Regardless of the conflicting historical data, it appears most likely that these unique festivals took place at more than one specific location within the natural range of the Bunya Pine forests.

The tree itself is magnificent and the sight of large dominant conifers in full rainforest was, to me, a new and unexpected experience. The dome shape of its uppermost foliage is iconic and the massive bunya cones are spectacular. If you've ever witnessed one of these cones hitting planet earth you'll appreciate the respect these trees demand from even the most hard headed Homo sapien. The very sizeable nut with it's distinctive flavour and high nutritional value could be described as the quintessential bush tucker. The fact that over thousands of years aboriginal people have gathered from such huge distances when the nut was in season is testament to its value both as a food and as a unifying symbol of Aboriginal culture. 
 View from Mt Kiangaro, Bunya Mountains National Park

There is no doubt that the decimation of the indigenous people and the land of Australia as a result of the occupation of the East Coast by Europeans since 1778 is something that many look upon with utter shock and disbelief. I feel this most when I find myself in what I, both mistakenly and naively, believe to be untouched forest only to stumble upon massive tree stumps that evidence logging from often well over 100 years ago. It may be with the wisdom of hindsight, but nevertheless still inexcusable, that so many of us today scratch our heads and wonder “what the hell were they thinking?”. The speed at which white man spread out across practically every square inch of this rugged landscape to steal the very best timber is staggering. And to think that most of the very best timber was shipped back to England is seriously worthy of tears. One can only now wonder at what it must have been like in the not too distant past when the Bunya Pine occupied a much more natural distribution and abundance. How amazing the land must have been in those times. But the past cannot be changed. We who walk the earth today have a duty to learn from our history and to change how we act today so as to ensure that there is a future worth leaving to our descendants. To give just one example, the issue of Coal Seam Gas that presently confronts not only the Bunya country of South East Queensland but vast areas of the whole land, marks a point, where our decisions and consequent actions will surely be judged one way or the other in the future. I sincerely hope that we can with the immense knowledge and experience amassed by the human race, and for once with a dash of respect for this finite planet, develop a true understanding of where we stand and how we must behave so that in 100 years from now our descendants are not scratching their heads and wondering “what the hell were they thinking?”.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

growth..growth....growth........growth................growth................................growth.................................................................growth.................................................................................................................................growth does not bring us closer to each other

While the media bombards us with endless news of war, terror, crime, drugs and the latest scientific discovery about the dangers of eating the food that was yesterdays super food, we wake in the morning in a state of fear wondering what we need to think, act and feel. So we iron our clothes, make sure we eat breakfast and set off to the days assigned duties so that we don't become destitute. And when the economic forecast of the day washes unchallenged over our senses we mindlessly accept that the free market capitalist paradigm is the only saviour from an inevitable slide into global chaos.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Wake Up!

At 4.22 I wake up in fright
Been dreaming about work all through the night.
Haven't given life that much thought
My ideas and beliefs were as good as shop bought.
I gave up on God many years ago
And naively accepted to go with the flow.
Letting the world rule how I think and behave
So at 4.22 I wake up as a slave.